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We learn how Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution years after his voyage about the H.M.S. Beagle and how the private man was a much more intriguing figure than his public persona.
In a wide-ranging and entertaining conversation with WSIU-TV's Jak Tichenor, philosopher, author, and professor Dr. Michael Ruse, a leading international authority in the philosophy of biology, discusses Charles Darwin's intellectual and spiritual development and how he came to develop the theory of evolution. Ruse also leads a candid discussion about the compatibility of evolution and Christianity.
As Ruse explains, Darwin originally intended to become an Anglican clergyman, but his history-making voyage aboard the H.M.S. Beagle in the 1830s led him to conclude that various kinds of animals had evolved over time into different branches of the same species through a process he called natural selection. Ruse outlines how Darwin spent over 20 years working and re-working his theories on evolution before publishing On the Origin of the Species in 1859. Ruse also contrasts Darwin's impact on the 19th-century world of ideas with Abraham Lincoln (both men shared the same birthday, February 12, 1809).
Ruse delivered the Charles D. Tenney lecture on the SIU Carbondale campus in February of 2010 at the invitation of the University Honors program. His lecture was entitled “Can a Darwinian be a Christian? Conversation at the Crossroads of Science and Religion.” Ruse has published several books on the life and works of Charles Darwin and currently teaches at Florida State University in Tallahassee.
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